Alignment of Mission, Methods and Resources – The Key Test for Success with Volunteers

up the square staircase

My COMM 466 class often inspires and challenges me in very practical operational ways when considering working with volunteers.  Our #1 Leadership Challenge in COM466 is “Aligning Mission, Methods and Resources.”  Leadership and management of volunteers is certainly applicable as both “methods” (of achieving organizational goals) and also as “resources” to do so.   Knowledge of agency or organization MISSION is paramount.  Mission is the raison d’etre, the essence, the purpose of existence and often also the passion of those involved as leaders or creators (founders).  It is really a nice neat package when it all works well together! No matter WHERE you look at the agency, it all lines up and is going in the prescribed direction.   Sadly, and for lots of reasons, all too often the alignment of those three key components just isn’t there!  

I contend and support the notion that all three components MUST be aligned for optimum, ethical and impact-full organization operations.  In the recent 2003 Boyd reading on competencies for volunteer administrators, I learned that there are different ways to address and frame the competencies however if Mission, Methods and Resources are not aligned. there is discord and dysfunctional operations in a group.  I am enjoying seeing how the agency I work with does their alignment.  I have also sorted through the competencies article author’s word choices in expressing the implications and expectations of alignment of methods and resources particularly focused on volunteers.  Yes, anyone can volunteer but not everyone knows how to mentor, train or supervise volunteers to help them reach their optimum level of success on all counts.  

Examples of Dr. Barry Boyd’s Competencies include a commitment to the Vision of the organization.   That commitment should include alignment of mission, methods and resources, as well as the ability to articulate the mission to stakeholders and others.  As a matter of fact, the “Alignment of Mission, Methods and Resources” should be the key deciding question as to whether that movement continues or in which direction it does move forward.    Every decision a staff member or board member makes should be prefaced with HOW / DOES this decision option align with the mission of the agency, its methods and resources?  If this question is asked before each decision, we will have a great clarity, validity and sense of security and satisfaction possible among the population served by and serving the agency. 

The agency staff I work with is also growing their credibility by engaging the volunteers and the volunteer leadership in training to build specific (value added) skills.  These skill building professional development workshops and career enhancement programs are the second most critical trend according to Dr. Boyd.  That said, obviously the group is benefiting from the continued enhancements and the volunteer administrators are gaining valuable skills they can use and / or market through their own agencies and beyond.  The agency itself is stronger and better aligned as the mission is met in this way.  Specific application of the mission statement and the question of alignment is a regular practice with this agency.  I look forward to a continuous evaluation of the alignment as well, as a means of determining the effectiveness of the agency and its volunteer administrators.  

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